So… I’m in Canada now.
I left China back in July, after a mostly fantastic ten months in the Middle Kingdom. It was an immensely difficult decision to leave. At one point, I was sitting in the back of a long-distance bus in Gansu, hitting my head against the window and making pros and cons lists about staying in China or following my plants to study in Vancouver. Obviously, I opted for Vancouver, and while some parts of the city are very Chinesey, it’s still not the same. I’m currently experiencing some nostalgia and decided to finally write the last serious of posts to describe my epic final days in China.
This is what happened, for all the other visual kids out there:
The original plan for summer vaca was quite different. My friend Amber (whose name mystically changes in every blog post) and I planned out an amazing month-long expedition to 新疆 Xinjiang province, waaaaaay out in westernmost China, until we realized a few things.
- Xinjiang is really fucking far away. Like, TWO DAYS TRAIN far away.
- Xinjiang is also really fucking huge. Once you spend TWO FULL DAYS on a train, you have to spend even more days on trains and buses to get around the province.
- Trains and buses to get around a province that’s almost as large as ALASKA is not a cheap task. We had a budget, and Xinjiang wasn’t working with it.
Long story short, we spent an entire evening planning our Xinjiang trip, only to discover it was too expensive. So we shamelessly stole a travel plan from another blog (which I can’t remember now! Sorry.. but they just stole it from Lonely Planet, so it’s all good).
In true Kirsten-fashion, I made an Excel spreadsheet of our schedule, probable costs, and details about how to get between towns. In my defense, I had to get back to Beijing to catch my flight home, so my excessive planning was somewhat necessary. Necessary, but ultimately fruitless, as Mother Nature had different plans for half of our trip, as you’ll see.
To re-experience the majesty of western-ish China with me, click below!
- Xining: Muslim district, mosque, and trees!
- Qinghai Lake: lake adventures with a group of older Chinese men